IPod Touch with 3G

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    Posted: 12 July 2011 05:24 AM

    http://thenextweb.com/apple/2011/07/10/beyond-the-iphone-5-the-future-of-apples-mobile-devices/


    Great article on the iPod, iPhone. Speculation

         
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    Posted: 12 July 2011 06:40 AM #1

    Is he suggesting apple will release a iPod touch with a 3G radio, and simply not install the ‘Phone’ app software on the device? The iPod touch already has a microphone & speaker, so if you add a cellular radio then is it not essentially, from a hardware perspective, a phone?

    It’s a 3G cellular device the same size as an iPhone, with the A4 chip, running iOS 5, with a retina display. If I asked you what device I just described in the previous sentence,, you would tell me it’s the iPhone 4. If I then told you the device can’t make phone calls like a normal iPhone, you would say why the hell not?

    Or am I missing something? Does the ability to make phone calls actually require separate cellular components not included in your typical 3G data chipsets? For instance if the iPhone software was hacked onto an 3G iPad, and a sim card inserted that had a voice plan, could you make a phone call from the iPad?

    Apologies if I’ve got it backwards and indeed extra circuitry/antennas are required.

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  • Posted: 12 July 2011 08:07 AM #2

    My first impression was the same, ‘that is just an iPhone by another name’. But, that was also a first impression with the iPad—give someone earbuds or a bluetooth earpiece and they no longer need a phone. I will grant you the form factor difference is there, but the concept of feeling strange about having a 3g radio without a voice app did take some time before it stopped being questioned.

    The key point is, “who buys an iPod touch”? I’d say it’s someone who either has no requirement for voice, can’t afford voice, or already has another voice device. I think a lot of youths have a feature phone for their texting and voice and an iPod touch for the pocket computer and wifi-enabled communication. With iMessage on the way, why not move all that texting activity to the iPod touch even when you aren’t in wifi land? A 3G radio would be a big addition to the device from that perspective.

    I think there is something here that makes real sense. My question is whether this can be done without a data plan? I don’t know too much about the Kindle, but Kindle users get wireless data without a plan - right? Would Apple sponsor a similar idea? If not, would carriers be able to stomach a very cheap iPod data plan and eat the cost of losing their lucrative existing text plans?

    iMessage is about to get very important in my mind. And, going back to a theme we mentioned years back, get someone started on the iPod touch, using the virtual keyboard, building a library of apps, learning to expect a delightful user interface—and you’ve got a future iPhone (etc.) user with a glowing halo sitting just slightly above their head.

    (Question - Can someone explain how a Kindle gets 3G data without a SIM card, but the iPad requires one. What is the difference? )

         
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    Posted: 12 July 2011 09:06 AM #3

    Ok - just did some googling and discovered there is a hack available for jail broken iPads that enables full phone & SMS support on the iPad 3G.

    So I guess if apple did release an iPod touch with 3G that didn’t make voice calls, it would quickly become the most jail broken iOS device ever, seeing as it would add huge functionality as a iPhone at (presumably) half the price. Can’t see apple doing that. Why not just release a proper iPhone air instead at the same price? It would be uber popular.

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    Posted: 12 July 2011 09:16 AM #4

    IMO, no need to jailbreak and purchase a voice plan.  A cheap data plan and VOIP will satisfy most.  Skype calls to telephone are really cheap and work really well.  It’s no different than the current iPad3G.  I do think iCloud, not telephony, is the main reason Apple would adding 3G to iPodTouch.

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    Posted: 12 July 2011 09:26 AM #5

    iPod touch equals iPhone PAYG.

         
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    Posted: 12 July 2011 09:31 AM #6

    macglenn - 12 July 2011 12:16 PM

    IMO, no need to jailbreak and purchase a voice plan.  A cheap data plan and VOIP will satisfy most.  Skype calls to telephone are really cheap and work really well.  It’s no different than the current iPad3G.  I do think iCloud, not telephony, is the main reason Apple would adding 3G to iPodTouch.

    yes its almost there isn’t it, if you wished to make it the only device you carried, a VoIP phone app on a iPod touch with 3G data plan is 99% of the way there.

    It’s just that tiny amount of doubt that creeps in when you consider you may need to use your phone to make a 911 emergency call one day that stops you from committing to a VoIP only device. (however if apple left the main phone app off, but left access to emergency services numbers over the normal cell network, that would be gold).

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  • Posted: 12 July 2011 12:08 PM #7

    Two big issues with the concept of a VoIP phone that’s really just a beefed up iPT:

    - Data networks in many countries are weaker than the voice network, with MUCH bigger blank spots in the coverage
    - Most of the non-iPhone market that Apple would look to address is non-tech-savvy.  They don’t know what VoIP is, they just want a phone, ideally cool with cool features, but just a phone.  Most won’t buy a non-phone phone

    All in all, I think this is a no-go in the way being discussed here.

         
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    Posted: 12 July 2011 12:28 PM #8

    My 10 year old daughter has the original iPHone to use for games, music, youtube.

    She called me from grandma’s house yesterday all excited about the fact that she jailbroke her phone.

    She figured it out by watching youtube videos.

    I saw what it looked like and I was impressed. 

    The fact that a 10 year old can do this on an 4 year old iPhone says a great deal.

    I think a 3G iPod Touch will sell millions more then one without 3G.

    Texting, games,  and internet are more important then voice.  Parents would pay for small plans of $15 a month.

    A jailbroken iPad can make voice calls by the way.

         
  • Posted: 12 July 2011 02:12 PM #9

    —-

    [ Edited: 12 July 2011 02:19 PM by sleepygeek ]      
  • Posted: 12 July 2011 02:17 PM #10

    Apple is in a position to operate as a voice carrier over data networks, routing calls via whichever carrier happens to offer the cheapest price on a per call basis. Amazon has negotiated data rights for Kindle 3G’s, and it may be that carriers would have a hard time charging more to Apple. A voice capable ipod isn’t taking voice business from the carriers, because it doesn’t work with their service.

    In other words, Apple might be ready to put together a package that the carriers can’t refuse, that demotes voice to just another internet service.

    Apple opens the door, Google slips in behind with Android and trashes the place, and Apple then redefines the business and takes everyone’s profits.

         
  • Posted: 12 July 2011 02:20 PM #11

    Personally I believe that the iPhone and iPod should merge into one product in the longrun. They are virtually the same device with and without 3G hardware.

    What I’d like to see is a lineup similar to the iPad: A model with a 3G (or 4G) radio, a model without. Both available “over the counter” with no contract with maybe a $100 price difference.

    Or purchasable with a contract from a carrier for about half price.

         
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    Posted: 12 July 2011 03:21 PM #12

    I took a quick look at the teardowns for the iPhone and iPod touch:
    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPhone-4-Teardown/3130/2
    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPod-Touch-4th-Generation-Teardown/3562/2

    Here are the “phone” components that the iPod lacks. Quoted directly from iFixit.

    ? Apple has integrated the UMTS, GSM, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth antennas into the stainless steel inner frame

    ? Skyworks SKY77542 Tx?Rx iPAC? FEM for Dual-Band GSM/GPRS: 880?915 MHz and 1710?1785 MHz bands.

    I think a 3G-enabled device would be a cell phone “replacement” for a very small percentage of consumers. Reliability and quality of voice calls would be unacceptable for most people…for now.

         
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    Posted: 12 July 2011 03:43 PM #13

    I did not know the iPodTouch Retina display lacked IPS technology, whereas iPhone has it.

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    Posted: 12 July 2011 03:50 PM #14

    Drew Bear - 12 July 2011 06:21 PM

    I took a quick look at the teardowns for the iPhone and iPod touch:
    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPhone-4-Teardown/3130/2
    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPod-Touch-4th-Generation-Teardown/3562/2

    Here are the “phone” components that the iPod lacks. Quoted directly from iFixit.

    ? Apple has integrated the UMTS, GSM, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth antennas into the stainless steel inner frame

    ? Skyworks SKY77542 Tx?Rx iPAC? FEM for Dual-Band GSM/GPRS: 880?915 MHz and 1710?1785 MHz bands.

    I think a 3G-enabled device would be a cell phone “replacement” for a very small percentage of consumers. Reliability and quality of voice calls would be unacceptable for most people…for now.

    You left out a couple parts.  In addition to the front end module which includes the power amplifier, switching & filtering, You need the baseband, RF transceiver and power control.  Typical Intel3G PCB

         
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    Posted: 12 July 2011 04:13 PM #15

    Thanks, pats. I thought I might have missed something with just a quick scan of those lists.